All-star tournament season in Little League Baseball is the high point of the season. The best players on a regular season team from each age group are selected to join the best players from other teams to create that league's representative team. All-star teams play in an international tournament that ends at the Little League World Series. In the interest of player safety and fairness, Little League has special tournament rules that apply to its all-star coaches.
Number of Coaches
Little League limits the number of non-players who can be in the dugout with the team. Additional parents are able to work with teams during practice time, but when the game starts, just the official coaches are allowed on the field with the team. All-star coaches must come from the list of regular season coaches for the league, and rules allow for just three coaches to be in the dugout. There is an all-star tournament modification to that rule that was put in place to encourage leagues to allow more players on their all-star teams. The standard regular season Little League roster carries 12 players, but all-star teams can carry up to 14. A team that does not have at least 13 eligible players in uniform at an all-star game loses a coach and must play the game with just two coaches in the dugout.
Coaches must compile a significant amount of paperwork on each player before their team is eligible to participate in all-star tournament play. In addition to a fully completed tournament affidavit that documents each player and then is used to track pitching availability, the coach must collect three unique proofs of a player's residency within the league, as well as a valid original birth certificate.
The coach carries a huge burden during all-star time of managing his pitching staff. Little League uses pitch counts to determine pitching eligibility from game to game and the use of an ineligible pitcher is cause for suspension of the manager and possible forfeiture of the game. Players age 10 and under are limited to 75 pitches in a game, while 11 and 12-year-olds may throw up to 85. The numbers go up incrementally from there for the older age groups. Additionally, any pitcher who throws 21 or more pitches in a game must sit out a day. If the number hits 36, it is two days of required rest, and then three days for 51 and four days for 66 or more pitches. Players older than age 14 have a different scale that determines required rest.
All players in Little League all-star play, in the divisions up through age 14, have a mandatory minimum play requirement of one inning in the field and one at bat per game. Once a player enters the game in a certain hitting position, he can only return to the game in that same position in the batting order. Coaches must make sure that all players get their playing time or the team is subject to forfeiting the game.
- "2010 Baseball Official Regulations and Playing Rules"; Little League Baseball; 2010
- Little League Baseball: 2010 Regular Season and Tournament Changes
- Photo Credit baseball player image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com
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